Santa Fe Police K9 that is the subject of a case under separate investigation

SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) – New Mexico State Police say a Santa Fe Police Department officer was shot earlier this month by his own department’s K9. News 13 has also learned this is the same K9 that is the subject of a lawsuit against the department for a 2022 incident.

The K9, named Ike, joined the department in 2020 and is now under an internal affairs investigation. “We want to see what happened, why the dog was involved, and that’s what we look for through our internal affairs investigation,” said Deputy Chief Ben Valdez.

NMSP said that during a police shooting involving Santa Fe police earlier this month, the officer who was shot was also bitten on the arm by Ike. According to department policy, Ike was placed in isolation for ten days and has now returned to duty, according to Deputy Chief Valdez. Subject of pending case against IKO department.

In January 2023, former officer Damian Vigil filed a lawsuit against the Santa Fe Police Department and its K9 services for an attack a year earlier. According to the lawsuit, then-Officer Vigil attended a demonstration where he was in a protective suit and Ike was released on him. Officer Vigil said that despite being told the dog was trained to avoid the neck and head, Ike did not listen to orders to let him go and then attacked him in the face. The incident was also caught on camera by fellow officers.

Ike was eventually reinstated. News 13 asked Deputy Chief Valdez why. “As we are discussing the incident which is under litigation, I cannot comment on that,” he said.

News 13 asked him if the recent incident where Ike bit an officer could have been prevented. “We await additional information from the investigation. And something that we see is inherently different between the two incidents: one was a training incident, the other was a dynamic, critical situation,” said Deputy Chief Valdez. “They’re two separate things so there’s really no comparison between the two.”

He said a force enforcement committee would review the latest incident. Meanwhile, Ayke will continue to train and serve.

“So far, they have seen that he can return to duty but again, training continues from here,” he said. “We have to wait to get all the information from this latest incident, hey what things went well, what improvements we can make.”

The officer who was beaten this month is out of the hospital and recovering while NMSP continues to investigate the shooting. Deputy Chief Valdez said the department has a total of three K9s.

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